Better Cereals

Bars and breakfast foods are the two foods that people most commonly ask, “Which is best for me?”. Cereal aisles are notoriously full of junk. With health claims yelling at you from the cereal box, picking out a healthy cereal is no easy task!

The criteria that I use for Better Cereals are similar to the criteria used for Better Bars, but with special attention to additives. If you haven’t checked out the ingredient list on your breakfast cereal, please do so. It’s amazing what is packed into those cardboard boxes. You will find an amazing array of artificial flavors and colors, mixed in with preservatives and then laced with sugar. That doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but there’s no way to sugar-coat it. Well, unless you count eating a sugary-cereal, then you really are sugar-coating your breakfast!

Better Cereal Selection Criteria

  • Minimally processed, familiar ingredients.
  • Short ingredient list, fewer than 10 ingredients.
  • No added sugar, or very little (evaporated cane juice, sugar, juice concentrate, honey, brown rice syrup and other syrups ) or sugar alcohols (maltitol, sorbitol and others ending in –ol).
  • No synthetic food dye. You will know that it’s synthetic if you see any color followed by a number.

Here is a handout with more information on Food Additives (pdf) from information complied by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Top Picks: Short ingredient lists, no weird additives and NO ADDED SUGAR! None. Zip. Zilch. These are the best!

**Please note: These are not gluten free. For gluten-free, scroll down.**

#1 Ezekiel 4:9 Almond

This cereal is organic, and so it tops the list.

#2 Shredded Wheat

Plain and simple goodness. There’s only one ingredient here: whole wheat. This cereal reminds me of my Grandma.

#3 Alpen All Natural Muesli, No Added Sugar

Muesli is rolled oats, dried fruit and nuts and so it is relatively easy to make yourself. 

Just a Little Bit of Sugar

If you’ve gotta have a bit of sugar, use this rule of thumb: Look for cereals that have less than 5 grams of sugar and more than 3 grams of fiber PER 100 calories. Keep in mind 1 teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams of sug
These cereals have around 1 teaspoon of added sugar.

Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Raisin Bran

This cereal is organic, and has two types of added sugar.

Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls Multigrain

This cereal uses molasses as an added sugar.

Barbara’s Puffins Original

This cereal uses molasses as an added sugar.

Top Pick Gluten-Free Cereals

Decent tasting gluten-free cereals are hard to come by, but tasty, gluten-free AND healthy cereals? Oh boy, there are just a few options. Gluten-free cereals tend to be higher in sugar and lower in fiber than gluten containing grains.

These are the three cereals that I eat, and I welcome more suggestions. Are there more healthy gluten-free cereals out there? Please let me know!!

#1 Perky’s Crunchy Flax

Very simple ingredient list; plenty of fiber and very little added sugar. And a decent amount of protein too!

#2 Nature’s Path Organic Mesa Sunrise

Choose from Mesa Sunrise Flakes or pick up Mesa Sunrise with Raisins. I really missed Raisin Bran and so Mesa Sunrise with Raisins is pretty awesome!

# 3 Udi’s Granola Original

Clean ingredient list, this granola is sweetened with honey. Because granola is sweeter (honey is the second ingredient) I usually mix this with Perky’s Crunchy Flax if I am having a bowl of cereal and milk, or I sprinkle it over fruit and plain yogurt.

Do you love sugary cereal?

  • Sweeten one of these cereal with fruit and add crunch and flavor with nuts and seeds. Make a breakfast bar so that your family can build their own cereal bowl. Use any variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, milks or yogurt that you like.
  • Do a “Fruit-Yogurt-Cereal Flip”! Put fresh or frozen fruit in the bottom of your bowl, top with yogurt and then cereal. Eating your cereal this way makes a cereal like granola, which is higher in sugar, from encroaching too far onto your “discretionary calories”.
  • Count your cereal as your dessert. If you eat sugary cereal, consider that dessert for the day—and eat it that way! Have a small bowl of cereal as dessert following a well-balanced meal that contains fruits, vegetables, fiber, protein and healthy fat. Sugary cereal simply can’t be the meal.

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.

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